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1 ©Compendium Developments 2005 “It Depends...” Context Driven Testing - What does it mean to have no “best practices”? Alan Richardson Compendium Developments Version NorthLondonBCS A personal view
2 ©Compendium Developments 2005 I was a teenage methodology monster! *Gasp in amazement* As you see him know exactly what do do, before he is even on site. *You will Be shocked* As the rework mounts to truly heroic proportions *Can you bear to see* Him justify his actions by quoting text book after text book and expert after expert. Coming soon to a project near you. Methodology He can do no wrong.
3 ©Compendium Developments 2005 Introduction
4 ©Compendium Developments 2005 I ceased my evil ways ● became more context aware ● asked more questions – different types of questions (how? what?) ● worked more closely with people – retaining independence of thought ● became more of a consultant than a salesman/pusher ● became more effective as a tester ● Less identification: “I am a structured tester” Over time, kind of…
5 ©Compendium Developments 2005 What is context driven testing
6 ©Compendium Developments 2005 Isn't Unit Testing a best practice? ● Unit Testing = – Any testing done by the developer – Any testing done under the debugger – Only testing which is automated at the code level – That isn't well defined enough to be a best practice
7 ©Compendium Developments 2005 What is the reasoning behind wanting this practice? What about X? ● Regression Testing ● End to End testing ● Full Code Coverage ● Automated Testing ● Fully Scripted Testing ● Automated Test Data Generation ● Non-Functional Testing ● V-Model, etc. ● X is Not defined here ● X might be good ● X is not a guarantee of bestness ● X is Not defined here ● X might be good ● X is not a guarantee of bestness
8 ©Compendium Developments 2005 X is a best practice for us ● Oh really. Honestly... – What extra baggage has X given you? – When did you last wish that you didn't do X? – Did you ever think...X is a little out of place here? – When did you last think of an alternative to X? – How did you decide that? – What are you actually doing? It might very well be a good practice here. Let me check.
9 ©Compendium Developments 2005 What is Context
10 ©Compendium Developments 2005 What can you expect from context- driven testers? ● “It depends...” on the context, but generally (I suspect they will)... – Ask a lot of questions of you and of themselves to explore the context and avoid assumptions – Change their minds, Re-plan – Be able to justify what they are doing, in terms of the context as they perceive it, not in calls to authority – Know their techniques and practices – assumptions, presuppositions, pros & cons
11 ©Compendium Developments 2005 How can you help them? ● Tell them not just what you are doing, but what your aims are, what your needs are – Don't say “Do this & that and everything will be ok” – Wants are not Needs. Want less, Need more. ● Provide examples of general situations you face ● avoid “I'd like to help but...” ● Be truthful and trust From “Scoring a whole in one” by Dr Edward Martin Baker Dictate Context Less Explain Detail Explore Be One
12 ©Compendium Developments 2005 Identify your Context ● What did we say we were doing? ● What are we actually doing? ● Who for? ● Why? What will we gain by doing that? ● Remind me - what is our aim/objective? ● What could we do instead? ● What would happen if we did something else?
13 ©Compendium Developments 2005 Learning More About Context ● ● Yahoo group “software-testing” ● I recommend: – General Semantics, NLP, Gerald Weinberg's books, Systems Thinking/Theory, “Lessons Learned in Software Testing” ● Others recommend: – Critical Thinking, Epistemology (and I might too, I just haven't explored these enough yet) Visit
Heres an interesting conversation. Its a little lengthy but rather amusing and thought provoking. Happy reading!!
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